Traditional New Year's Eve Celebrations Around the World

Around the globe, different cultures celebrate New Year’s Eve in unique ways. This holiday is a great excuse to travel, both at home and abroad. Set the stage for a memorable New Year’s by partaking in traditional celebrations around the globe — in December and throughout the year.

New York City

One of the most classic New Year’s celebrations in the U.S. takes place in New York City. The Big Apple toasts the New Year in a variety of ways, from the ball drop in Times Square to special multi-course dinners from the city’s best celebrity chefs. Traditional celebrations include a glass of champagne and the big countdown at midnight. Add a special touch to your trip by browsing for a great local B&B with a hearty New Year’s Day brunch.

Jewish New Year

Not all New Year’s celebrations take place on December 31. The Jewish New Year, called Rosh Hashanah, is in September. During this two-day holiday, families celebrate tradition through food and prayer services. A traditional celebration will almost always include slices of apple dipped in honey, a symbol of a sweet new year. This is the first of the High Holy Days.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is celebrated around the globe, from China to cities around the globe that are home to a Chinese population. Taking place in late January or early February, this celebration is one of the most important holidays of the year. You don’t have to be Chinese to enjoy the feasting, fireworks, dragon dances, and glowing lanterns of this holiday. From New York City to San Francisco to Chinatown in Sydney, Australia, this holiday is a festive one.

Eastern Orthodox Church New Year

The Orthodox Church in Russia (along with other countries like Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine) celebrate the New Year on January 14. This is a religious holiday, celebrated with family feasts. If you’re planning a trip to Russia to celebrate New Year’s Eve, you will stay want to be there on December 31. Although the religious holiday falls on January 14, the public holiday is January 1, and New Year’s Eve is home to fireworks, feasts, and festivities.

Balinese New Year

New Year on the island of Bali is celebrated in March, coinciding with their lunar New Year. If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, join in on the 12-hour dedicated silence and meditation that sweeps across the island. Many cities in the U.S. also celebrate the Balinese New Year with yoga camps and meditation clinics.

We may have one idea of what a traditional New Year’s holiday entails — but traveling can open our eyes to how other cultures celebrate in their own special way. It is possible to celebrate the New Year throughout the year if you turn to different cultures. Perhaps one of these traditional celebrations will influence how you decide to spend New Year's Eve this year.

By Emily Starbuck Crone